Immortelle, Or Everlasting
IMMORTELLE, or EVERLASTING. The immortelle plant belongs to the division Tubutifiorce of the natural family Compositm, and is scientifically known as Gnapkalimm (11elichrysum) orientate of Linnus. It is a native of North Africa, Crete, and the parts of Asia bordering on the Mediterranean ; and it is cultivated in many parts of Europe. It first became known in Europe about the year 1629, and has been cultivated since 1815. In common with several other plants of the same group, known as " everlastings," the immortelle plant possesses a large involucre of dry scale-like or scarious bracts, which preserve their appearance when dried, provided the plant be gathered in proper condition. The chief supplies of Heliehrysum orientate come from Lower Provence, where it is cultivated in large quantities on the ground sloping to the Mediterranean, in positions well exposed to the sun, and usually in plots surrounded by dry stone walls. The finest flowers are grown on the slopes of Bandols and Ciotat, where the plant begins to flower in June. It requires a light sandy or stony soil, and is very readily injured- by rain or heavy dews. It can be propagated in quantity by means of offsets from the older stems. The flowering stems are gathered in June, when the bracts are fully developed, all the fully-expanded and immature flowers being pulled off and rejected. After being dried, they are sent to Paris in boxes containing 100 bundles, with the flowers placed outwards and the stems in the centre. The immortelle is sold by weight or by the bundle, the price varying from lid. to 3d. per bundle, according to size, or from 12s. to 18s. per hundredweight, according to quality. A well-managed plantation is productive for eight or ten years. The plant is tufted in its growth, each plant producing 60 or 70 stems, while each stein produces an average of 20 flowers. About 400 such stems weigh a kilogramme. A hectare of ground will produce 40,000 plants, hearing from 2,400,000 to 2,800,000 stems, and weighing from 51 to tons, or from 2 to 3 tons per acre. The colour of the bracts is a deep yellow. The natural flowers are commonly used for garlands for the dead, or plants dyed black are mixed with the yellow ones. The plant is also dyed green or orange-red, and thus employed for bouquets or other ornamental purposes.
The following is a list of the more important everlasting flowers : - Acrodinison roman ; Ammobium alaium ; Onaphalium orientate and other species ; 'MM IMI-yearn bracteatum, macranthunt, and compositum, from Australia, and H. vestituni, from the Cape of Good Hope; lielipterum cancscens and Sandforti, from South Africa; Ith,oda2tthe hfanqltsai, maculata, and atrosanguinea, from Swan River ; Waitzia Wilda and ?area, from Swan Myer ; and XeranthelIZUM autumn. Frequently these everlastings are mixed with bleached grasses, as Lagorue (flatus, Briza maxima, Bromus brizwformig, or with the leaves of the Cape silver tree (Leucadcndron argenteunt), to form bouquets or ornamental groups.